Any person buying a horse or pony has the same rights as if they purchased any other goods and is entitled to assume that the person they are buying the horse from has the right to sell.
Please note that all horses, ponies and horse-like animals need to have a passport identifying the animal which must be complemented by a microchip identification implant. It is an offence for an owner to do any of the following without a valid passport:
Horses must not be sold either privately or taken to markets or auctions if the animal has not been issued with a passport.
Passports may not be issued at the premises of sales or auctions as an offence would be committed by moving a horse that does not have a passport to these premises.
If you sell your horse, you will need to give the passport to the buyer at the time of sale.
If you are selling your horse through a market or auctioneer, you will need to give them the passport - as they become the keeper of the animal. 'Selling' includes any transfer of ownership.
The passport itself is not an ownership document.
If you buy a horse, you need to notify the passport issuing office (PIO) who issued the passport of your name and address, and the name and identification number of the horse as recorded in Section III of the passport within 30 days. It is an offence to not do so. The rules and conditions of the passport issuer may vary regarding how the passport is actually updated. In cases where the passport is returned, the PIO will issue a temporary document which will remain valid for 45 days. Owners should contact the relevant PIO for further details on how to update the passport. Details of previous owners are recorded on Section III of the passport and it is not usual practice for PIOs to remove these from the passport.
Horses may only be moved within the EU if accompanied by a passport. You should only purchase a horse that has entered the UK from another EU country if it has a valid passport. Owners should contact the PIO that issued the passport in order to update the document with new owner details, etc.
When bringing a horse into the UK from outside the EU, a passport must be applied for within 30 days of entering the country. This shall not apply in relation to a horse, which remains in the UK for less than 30 days unless the final destination of the horse is within another EU country.
Permanent third country imports will need to identified in accordance with EU rules and will need a microchip when being issued with a passport.
Except where a horse was sold to a slaughterhouse, the owner or keeper shall return the passport to the PIO within 30 days of death, with an indication of the date of death in order that they can update their records and cancel the passport. You should agree any terms and conditions with the PIO if you want them to send the passport back to you after they have finished with it.
If you own a foal, you need to obtain a passport for it on or before 31 December of the year in which it was born; or by six months after its birth, whichever is later.
A list of all authorised PIOs in the European Union can be viewed on
A list of the Defra authorised PIOs can be obtained from:
Defra telephone helpline 08459 335577 or from the.
As a general rule of law, there is no implied condition that the horse or pony is suitable for a particular purpose unless the seller is carrying on a business in selling horses or ponies. Even if he/she does carry on such business, there is no implication that the horse or pony will be suitable for a particular purpose, unless that purpose is made known to the seller. A prudent buyer will therefore include within the agreement a statement as to the exact intended use for the horse or pony.
By way of contrast, a prudent seller will want to have recorded the total extent of the representations he/she has made in respect of the horse or pony. At a later stage there can be much argument as to exactly what was said at the time of the sale. All details must be included within the agreement. The seller should not give far-reaching guarantees because there may be hidden defects which are unknown to him or her, and which may appear later. The seller should therefore include a term in the agreement that the horse is 'sold as seen', and that the seller does not warrant its health and condition. Since this is an exclusion clause, it must be reasonable, in order to comply with the Unfair Contract Term Act 1977. Therefore, the seller must provide the buyer with an opportunity to examine the horse's health and condition.
Most sellers will want to emphasise the need for care of the animal. To make sure that the buyer is aware of this concern, they may wish to make the buyer promise to do so. Although this term can be inserted in the agreement, it may be very difficult to enforce. The courts will not undertake the duty of personally supervising how the buyer is looking after the horse. Should subsequently the horse or pony not be properly cared for, there may be difficulty in showing that the seller suffered any loss.
Below you will find the relevant bodies you should contact if you suspect that an animal is being treated cruelly:
The RSPCA cruelty line telephone number is 0300 1234 999. See thefor more information.
The principal charity for animals in Northern Ireland is the. The USPCA National Animal Helpline telephone number is 028 9081 4242.
If in Scotland, you should contact theon 03000 999 999.
Where a horse is individually identified in the list kept by the New Forest Verderers or the Dartmoor Commoners Council, an owner shall not be required to apply for a passport provided the horse is not moved (other than temporarily for welfare reasons) from the area regulated by one of those bodies.
Additionally, foals that are born out of lawfully depastured mares on the Crown Lands of the New Forest and which are to be sold through the Beaulieu Road Sales in the year of birth, may be sold without a passport. This is provided that the owner provides to the auctioneer at time of sale, a completed application form for a passport which includes a silhouette of the horse and the passport fee as charged by the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society. A full passport will be issued to the new owner, but in the meantime, the new owner must not sell or slaughter the animal, nor use it for competition or breeding or export it. All other semi-feral horses require a passport as normal.
At Section IX of the passport there is a declaration at Part II to indicate whether or not the horse is intended for slaughter for human consumption. Declarations that indicate that a horse is 'not intended for slaughter for human consumption' are irreversible. Owners should sign the declaration in instances where the animal has been exposed to certain veterinary medicinal products. If the owner refuses to sign, the vet administering the substance must sign the declaration.
Except for the exceptions listed below, an owner may, at any time, sign the declaration in Section IX concerning whether or not the animal is intended for slaughter for human consumption. This refers to an owner living in England and Northern Ireland. Welsh owners have to sign the declaration immediately on receipt of the passport under the Welsh passport legislation (The Horse Passports (Wales) Regulations 2005). English owners do not have to do this even if they move their horse temporarily to Wales.
Owners are required to sign the declaration before any veterinary medicinal product containing a substance specified in Annex IV to Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2377/90 is administered to a horse. The declaration must indicate that the horse is not intended for slaughter for human consumption (unless the declaration has already been so signed).
In other circumstances the PIO itself will automatically make the declaration that a horse is not fit for human consumption, such as:
(1) Before the horse is consigned for slaughter for human consumption (in which case, the declaration must state that the horse is intended for slaughter for human consumption).
(2) Before the horse is sent outside the United Kingdom. The declaration and its wording is an emotive issue, especially in our country where we do not have a culture of rearing horses for human consumption.
(3) If a foal is not identified within certain guidelines.
(4) Passports being issued for adult horses which have not yet been issued with a valid passport by 30 June 2009.
(5) Passports being re-issued.
You are advised to think carefully about the following points before deciding which declaration you are going to sign.